Jefferson and Clarion Counties Explore Joint 911 Options

911CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Questions still are being asked about what is the best answer for Clarion County 911 Services, and a new set of County Commissioner is talking with their counterparts in Jefferson County about possible collaborations.

It seems that the Clarion County Commissioners are now back at square one for new 911 offices after plans for room in a courthouse annex and a new building adjacent to the Clarion County Jail in Paint Township have probably been abandoned.

“A cooperative operation could have a major impact on our budget,” said Chairman Ted Tharan about the preliminary talks. “When Ed Heasley and I were at the CCAP Conference for new commissioners in November – after the election and before we took office – we talked to the Jefferson County Commissioners down there, and one day the discussion turned to 911. Ed and I asked them what their system was like because we knew the former commissioners were looking at building an 8,400 square foot building for $4 million.”

Size shouldn’t matter for 911 centers, but the question was still asked.

“One thing led to another, and we asked how big is yours,” said Tharan. “Ours is 4,000 square feet and theirs is 5,000 square feet. Why do we need 8,400 square feet? We said we ought to talk some time. Last Friday, Ed, Wayne, and I went over and talked to their commissioners and said if anyone is interested in this, it’s our obligation. There’s money out there for consolidation and regionalization. Let’s look at everything.”

Tharan supports any arrangement that would provide a better Clarion operation. He is not for any arrangement that would give Clarion a worse system.

“I’m not in favor of the northwestern Pennsylvania regional 911 and for one more like Jefferson, Clarion, and Forest Counties,” said Tharan. “The thing about 911 that is so different is that if someone calls 911 and is a in a panic and they’re asked where are you and they say, ‘I’m on the road to Sligo and I just passed the big cow.’ Someone from Erie has no clue where the big cow is and those are things that affect how your 911 operates. They take new trainees out and show them what are the local landmarks, and that’s the case if you join with other counties and include that information on maps. There would be lots of things that would need to be worked out.”

“I’m not saying this is the answer, but if we did not explore every answer, I would not be doing my job right.”

Clarion County 911 currently covers half of Forest County and Venango County the other half.

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